Thursday, April 23, 2015

T is for Tina


All hail Anna Mae Bullock, or as you might call her - Tina Turner. 

Born in 1939, little Anna Mae started out in Nutbush, TN. When her parents followed work to Knoxville, TN, Anna Mae and her sister, Ruby Aillene, stayed with her grandparents. As Deacon and Deaconess of the local church, the grandparents probably made sure young Anna spent a lot of time there - she loved to sing in the church choir. The girls would later join their parents in Knoxville, but in the end, all roads lead back to Nutbush. 

At the age of 11, Anna Mae's mother left without warning to escape abuse from her husband. Once again the girls were shipped off to live with relatives - this time, a great aunt in St. Louis. When her father remarried, she moved to Detroit at the age of 13 and later to Brownsville, Tennessee. 

In spite of a childhood full of ups and down, Anna Mae held her own and graduated high school in 1958. She dreamed of being a nurse one day.

Anna and her sister would find themselves back in St. Louis. It's there that the legend begins when Anna encountered Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm. When he heard her take the mic one night, he had to have her in the group. She used the name "Little Ann." Juggy Murray, president of Sue Records, heard her and was convinced that she should be the lead singer and star of the band - and "Tina" was created. 

Ike and Tina's song, "A Fool in Love" was released in 1960 and it was a hit. Many recording contracts followed and they kept pumping out the hits. In 1965, the great Phil Spector sought out Tina and actually paid Ike to stay out. "River Deep, Mountain High" was released in 1966 and the combination of Spector's "wall of sound" and Tina's powerful voice was a phenomenon. Boy, I love that song.

Some of my favorite Ike and Tina Turner recordings include, "Proud Mary," "Nutbush City Limits," "Shake a Tail Feather," and the ever popular "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter."

By 1976, Ike and Tina were almost done as a couple; drugs fueled arguments and abuse and Tina filed for divorce. She left with her stage name and a mountain of debt incurred by the duo over cancelled tours...plus IRS bills. Thanks, Ike.

In 1977, Tina's solo career started and the new and improved rock and roll Tina emerged; she was an MTV darling.  The Private Dancer album produced more favorites: "Private Dancer, " "Better Be Good to Me," and "I Can't Stand the Rain."

Once again, I could go on and on...about the Acid Queen...the collaborations...the clothes...
Thunderdome! And how in the world did she keep dancing like that when she was eligible for AARP??  

But, don't hate me - I've got to just hit the highlights. So you better be good to me...








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37 comments:

  1. Some great tunes! Never knew all of this about her childhood. Shame she ended up with abusive Ike....so much like her mother's life. I love, "What's Love Got to Do With It" that she did solo, as well.
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
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    1. I think her childhood was probably a lot rougher than she let on - but she's a fighter and a talent!

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  2. I saw Ike and Tina Turner live at a bar in St. Louis a long time ago. Long time ago.

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    1. Boy, I wish I'd seen that.

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    2. I used to be involved with a man who saw the Doors at the whiskey a go go (not recently--those rumors about Jim Morrison faking his death--ridiculous, right, Jim?). That's probably not the correct way to write a go go, and I don't care.

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  3. Great choice, dear Cherdo! The Ike and Tina Turner Revue was one of the most exciting live stage shows ever assembled. They pulled out all the stops, performing a style of raw, earthy, frantic, sex-charged shouting Southern R&B that, in the beginning, was too intense for mainstream audiences. Over the years Ike and Tina recorded for Sue and an unusually high number of other record labels and maintained high quality throughout. "River Deep, Mountain High" is today acknowledged as a masterpiece but, mysteriously, sold poorly at the time of its release. In the mid 80s, with the help of MTV, Tina exploded as a solo artist with the release of Private Dancer, recording in a more refined, pop rock style and her videos burned up the request lines at the music video station where I worked.

    Thank you for choosing the talented and courageous Tina Turner, dear friend Cherdo. Now it's time for me to hit the road. See you tomorrow!

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    1. Thank you, dahlin' - I do believe they ruled the stage like no other.

      Interesting that you mentioned "River Deep, Mountain High." That is one that I don't understand. Phil AND Tina plus absolutely great orchestration; love the strings on that piece. It should have ruled the airwaves, it was THAT great.

      The movie What's Love Got to Do With It really was a great - sort of the way I feel about the movie Ray. Both wonderful, if a little fictionalized, due to the music and the illusion of watching both of those legends live.

      Be careful out there, Shady Shady Bo Bady Banana fana mo matey.

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    2. The movie is great, but it's so darn sad. I love it when she runs away from Ike.

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  4. Tina was a delight, Cherdo...her energy, her figure, her voice. All a power package.

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  5. I'm glad Tina was strong enough to extract herself from that relationship...I only wish Whitney Houston could have found inspiration in her story and gotten herself out of her situation.

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    1. Wow, that is so true, Stephanie. Another wasted talent.

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  6. Replies
    1. Now, Alex, I swear there are days when I am too old...

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  7. Tina rocks!!! Her legs, her voice, her songs. I love the movie Whats love got to do with it where Angela Bassett plays Tina. Its powerful! I love the song You better be good to me. I have it on my playlist and I play it over and over.

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    1. I play that one over and over, too! Hubzam tolerates me, ha ha.

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  8. Tina is Queen! Gosh I wish I had her legs. ;) I didn't know her real name though.

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  9. Out of all the songs she did, my favorite is (no kidding), "We Don't Need Another Hero." I guess I'm unsophisticated that way.

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    1. Just watched it on You Tube.
      Yep. Still really like it.
      Who rules Bartertown?

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    2. Ha ha ha - that is a great song, I hate to agree. She wails!

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  10. Such a great talent, and to think she taught women how to dance in high heels.

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    1. Ginger Rogers danced in high heels. They usually had a chunky heel, though, I think. Did Tina wear a stiletto?

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    2. I looked at the first video again, where I could see a shoe. I wouldn't call it a stiletto, but she didn't have the chunky heels that would have added some stability.

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    3. Tina could rock the stiletto, for sure. There's plenty of concert clips that show her in high heels that would have make me wobble. BUT SHE IS TINA and she does it all.

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    4. I can't even walk two steps in a heel.

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  11. Private Dancer is one of the best albums. Tina was one gorgeous AARP card holder!

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    1. ...and she moved to Europe and became a Swiss citizen. Maybe it's SARP for her, ha ha.

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  12. What's love got to do with it? Everything, when you're talkin' Tina Turner. How I wish I had those legs.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I wish I had the gams AND the voice...and the house in France...

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  13. Isn't it funny how she wanted to be a nurse but had to settle for a superstar? Oh well. That's just how the ball bounces.

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    1. There was a time when most little girls who wanted a career thought teacher or nurse (said someone to waffled between teacher and nurse...).

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  14. She was the inevitable choice for T; yeah!

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    1. Tom Petty was in the running, but I thought - what the heck, he was in the Wilbury's video, so he got something.

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  15. Never too old to dance like that. Maybe she did yoga? Rolling on the river is my fav from her

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  16. Wait...she is 76! Wow she had one amazing life and one powerful voice. My hubby loves her voice....and her legs:)

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo